Title

The Effect Of Rainfall Variations On Water Chemistry, Fish Abundance And Diversity, And Channel Geomorphology In Agricultural Streams Within The Saluda And Upper Savannah River Basinsz

Author(s)

Brandi Windham

School Name

South Carolina Governor's School for Science and Mathematics

Grade Level

12th Grade

Presentation Topic

Environmental Science

Presentation Type

Mentored

Mentor

Mentor: Dennis Haney and Greg Lewis, Biology Department, Furman University

Abstract

Stream water quality, biological communities, and habitat structure in agricultural areas may vary greatly depending on climatic conditions. This study addressed streams draining watersheds with active row crop land cover in the South Carolina Piedmont (Saluda and upper Savannah River basins) during two summers of varying rainfall. Specifically, this study addressed if the difference in rainfall would affect water chemistry, fish abundance and diversity, and channel geomorphology. It was expected that rainfall would affect the fish abundance and diversity along with the stream quality negatively. While most measured variables did not differ significantly between the two years with varying rainfall conditions, bankfull depth was marginally significantly greater in 2013 reflecting the higher rainfall that summer. The incision ratio was also significantly higher in 2014 compared to 2013. A significantly higher QHEI in 2014 may reflect the greater variety of runs, pools and riffles when the water levels were normal. The iron and sulfate concentrations were higher in 2013, while the chlorine and nitrate concentrations were higher in 2014. Despite greater habitat quality scores in 2014, our results suggest that total fish abundance and diversity are relatively insensitive to the variations in rainfall recorded during this period of study. Further research could address what amount of rainfall would affect the habitat quality and fish diversity significantly.

Start Date

4-11-2015 9:15 AM

End Date

4-11-2015 9:30 AM

COinS
 
Apr 11th, 9:15 AM Apr 11th, 9:30 AM

The Effect Of Rainfall Variations On Water Chemistry, Fish Abundance And Diversity, And Channel Geomorphology In Agricultural Streams Within The Saluda And Upper Savannah River Basinsz

Stream water quality, biological communities, and habitat structure in agricultural areas may vary greatly depending on climatic conditions. This study addressed streams draining watersheds with active row crop land cover in the South Carolina Piedmont (Saluda and upper Savannah River basins) during two summers of varying rainfall. Specifically, this study addressed if the difference in rainfall would affect water chemistry, fish abundance and diversity, and channel geomorphology. It was expected that rainfall would affect the fish abundance and diversity along with the stream quality negatively. While most measured variables did not differ significantly between the two years with varying rainfall conditions, bankfull depth was marginally significantly greater in 2013 reflecting the higher rainfall that summer. The incision ratio was also significantly higher in 2014 compared to 2013. A significantly higher QHEI in 2014 may reflect the greater variety of runs, pools and riffles when the water levels were normal. The iron and sulfate concentrations were higher in 2013, while the chlorine and nitrate concentrations were higher in 2014. Despite greater habitat quality scores in 2014, our results suggest that total fish abundance and diversity are relatively insensitive to the variations in rainfall recorded during this period of study. Further research could address what amount of rainfall would affect the habitat quality and fish diversity significantly.